Jamie Dornan: 'The next James Bond could be someone never mentioned'
Jamie Dornan reflects on his career, those James Bond rumours and The Tourist.
Former model Jamie Dornan has played a serial killer, a sex object, a henchman, a proud father and – most recently – an amnesiac in the Australian outback for the BBC/HBO thriller The Tourist, which brought him new attention earlier this year.
Alongside a Golden Globe-nominated turn in Sir Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, it’s been a big 12 months for the Northern Irish actor… but does he think he could be the next James Bond?
Read on for 10 questions with Jamie Dornan, which originally appeared in Radio Times magazine.
The Tourist was a huge hit when it debuted on BBC One on New Year’s Day 2022. Were you surprised by the response?
I was really pleased by it. I thought people were either going to embrace the off-kilter weirdness of the show – the shifts between heavy drama and quirky comedy – or decide it wasn’t for them. Luckily there are a lot of weirdos out there who responded well to it.
For most of the series, we don’t really know who your character is. How much did you know?
I talked to [writers] Jack and Harry Williams, so I had a broad idea. But I didn’t see the script for episode 6 until we’d been out in Australia for a long time. So in a way I felt like I was on a journey with the audience in terms of what was being revealed about The Man. Which is helpful when you’re playing someone who has absolutely no recollection of who they are, or how they’ve found themselves in this position.
A second series is in the pipeline. What can you tell us about it?
It’s difficult to talk about without spoiling the ending of series 1, but all I’ll say is there’s an appetite for it. There are conversations about how you continue the story – is it set before or after what we’ve already seen? It’s definitely all up for discussion. I really like playing the character and I think there’s more to explore.
You seem to have become part of Kenneth Branagh’s rep company, first with Belfast and now the upcoming Poirot movie A Haunting in Venice. Do you call him Sir Ken?
No, he’s not like some other notable knighthood recipients who insist on being called that…
I feel very fortunate that he wants to continue working with me and doesn’t just think I can play a dad from Belfast. Which is what I am!
You’ve been doing a lot of singing lately — including a big showstopping number in Belfast and your rendition of Bette Davis Eyes in The Tourist. Does a career in musicals beckon?
I would say…probably not. I did four jobs in a row that I sang in – that’s plenty, although I do kind of enjoy it. I was actually meant to do a musical a couple of years ago, but schedule-wise we couldn’t make it happen. I love the variety of this job, and so far I’ve been able to enter a lot of different worlds – so if that means ending up in a musical, then so be it.
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As young actors, you and housemate Eddie Redmayne were good friends with Batman (Robert Pattinson), Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) and Daredevil (Charlie Cox). Do you harbour any ambitions to squeeze into superhero latex yourself?
I’d definitely be interested, though you don’t hear a lot of good things about the comfort of those suits. It’s weird how all the American superheroes are British. Back then, we were all young actors from the other side of the pond, trying to make it in LA. We were always going up for the same jobs, and none of us getting them. For a while it looked like it wasn’t going to work out, but we all came out of it OK. So far…
You said recently there are jobs you wish you hadn’t taken – “but probably not the one you’re thinking”. What could you possibly be referring to, Jamie?
I don’t know. It was probably me trying to weasel my way out of answering an awkward question. Which I’m trying to do right now!
So you’re saying you have no regrets about making the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy?
I wouldn’t have much reason to regret those films. If I was talking to you now from a bedsit having not worked in seven years, it would be a different story. But I’m not.
Your name often comes up as a potential James Bond. Are you able to take it seriously?
Of course it’s nice to be in those conversations. If you’re an actor of a certain age who’s had a good year, there’s an inevitability about it [being mentioned]. But they’ll probably replace Daniel Craig with somebody who’s never been on one of those lists.
You recently turned 40 – how are you feeling about that?
I feel great about it. I’m in a good place at work and at home, and I haven’t started sprouting hairs out of my nose yet. I’m standing here with three healthy kids and a beautiful wife and a good career. I don’t have a lot to complain about.
I feel my life has been marked out by decades: I moved to London when I turned 20, I modelled for ten years, and then my acting career kicked off at 30, and I got married and had children. That makes me even more excited about my 40s. I honestly feel like I haven’t even begun.
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